An Officer's View on Racial Profiling

by Ted Belling

12-19-14

  Racial profiling is a favorite catch phrase thrown about by many of the premier experts in police work such as Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Eric Holder, and Constitutional law professor, Barak Obama. The ACLU is also forefront in their blanket accusations of white police officers being cursed racial profilers. So what is racial profiling that has all these people actually humming with anger and contempt for our country’s police officers? The ACLU defines racial profiling as, “When law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin or religion.” (“Racial Profiling.” ACLU. Web. December 14, 2014). Activist lawyer and Texas law professor Ranjana Natarajan further claims that police racial profiling is a plague, that is persistent and rooted in America’s police forces. She also further stated inaccurately that both Michael Brown and Eric Garner were targeted and died because of racial profiling (“Comprehensive National Policy That Outlaws Racial Profiling Should Cover State, Local Police” Huffington Post. Web. December 9, 2014). It does not help that the main stream media fawns all over these people and give them such great credence.  It also does not matter that these race hustlers foment strife so they can make millions of dollars off the turmoil. The worst part of all is that they lie and lie and lie with impunity without any check or balance from the media. It is the poor citizens and police officers in the trenches that suffer while they bask in the lime light celebrating the destruction they created.

  The idea of racial profiling is a gift that just keeps on giving to the hustlers. It is an ethereal concept that they can use to drag any targeted officer or agency through the mud. The best thing about racial profiling is that all these hustlers claim it exists and is rampant, but there is almost no way to ever prove it does exist. That is right. There is almost no way to ever prove it does exist. A key element of racial profiling is the officer’s subjective reasoning for the stop. His mental design is the core of the motivation for making a stop. It must be based on perceived criminality solely linked by race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Basically it is all about what the officer is thinking when he stops a person. Unless the officer admits that is the reason for the stop, no one can ever prove different. The unfortunate thing for the officer is that there is also no way to prove he did not do it for that reason. This is the weakness that is so grandly exploited by the hustlers to eviscerate any agency they chose to target. This exploitation cannot be based on facts, so they base it on repeated lies, exaggerations, and conjectures. They cause enough smoke and everyone will believe there is a fire. Goebbels would be proud of their successful propaganda. The US Supreme Court recognized the existence of the weakness and ruled that the lower courts could not divine the subjective reasons of an officer for making a stop. As long as an officer had objectively reasonable suspicion of wrong doing, the stop was lawful (Whren v. US 517 US 806 (1996)). This is great as a legal standpoint for police, but does them no good in the arena of public opinion formed by anti-police activists and a sycophantic media.

  There are those that try to prove racial profiling through police department statistics. The problem is that no one agrees on how to interpret the numbers. Some say that if 5% of a community is non-white and 10% of the traffic stops by white officers are of non-white people, then that is proof. What if 5% of the community is non-white, but it is next to a community that is 40% non-white with large numbers of people driving through the first community on a regular basis? Would this not change the numbers? Would that matter to someone determined to prove racial bias any way possible? What if a white officer is assigned to a district that contains a higher percentage of non-whites over the rest of the city? That officer’s statistics will show a higher percentage of non-white traffic stops. Is this due to racial profiling? No, it is not, but this won’t matter to someone using the numbers to prove his beliefs.

  The continuing barrage from the hustlers and media over racial profiling gives non-white communities the belief that racial profiling is rampant, out of control, and blatantly practiced by white police officers across this country. Also the repeated and very often false anecdotal accounts from members of these communities exacerbate the problem even further. The lies of Tawana Brawley in the 1980’s through to the numerous lies of the witnesses at the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson are widely believed despite all the evidence to the contrary. Ask any black person if he or she has been racially profiled. A very high percentage will say, “Yes,” regardless of the reason for the stop. Why is this? They are absolutely convinced that racial profiling occurs because the black community is so hyper-sensitive. Every white officer to them is a racist. Period. This hyper-sensitivity is due to the constant abrasion from the hustlers, the media, and now Eric Holder and Barak Obama convincing them that there is no other legitimate explanation for the police to contact them.

  Is there a solution? First of all there will never be a solution as long as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and their ilk are not exposed as the worst kind of frauds and con men they truly are, and exiled to the dust bin of history. Honorable statesmen in the mold of Dr. M.L. King, not these jokers, need to be recognized and supported. The reality is, however, that there will not be a quick fix. At this point, it will take changes over generations to undue the strife and mistrust created. 

  In my years as an officer, I have known many officers from many different agencies. All we want to do is help the people in our communities. We don’t go to work with animosity or design to do ill will on the people we serve. It is absurd to believe that we do. We charge toward the gunfire, we pull people from burning cars, we do CPR, and we catch rapists, robbers, and killers. We take risks every day for the people of our communities. If we did not care, we would not take the risks. There is no law that says we have to. We could wait until it was all over and take a report. It is hard to hear people curse us and call for our deaths. It also hurts to see the senseless destruction of property and businesses. To what end? Are we as officers somehow supposed to be nicer and more understanding to people that are violent, destructive, felons, and thieves? This will never happen. We will not avert our eyes to criminal activity. As long as people like this exist, we will seek out and try and stop them from victimizing our neighborhoods. It becomes increasingly difficult to do this with any amount of success in some neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods, usually poor ones with higher percentages engaging in criminal conduct, the criminals, and their families and associates actively resist police activities. Contacts become confrontations. Officers are constantly on the defensive, and are often hurt or killed. Is there no surprise that officers are quick to react, and sometimes overreact? We are human, too. We feel fear. We want to live through the encounters we face and go home to our families. If the attacker forces us to kill, we kill. The aggravating thing about these encounters is that civilians don’t understand that each time we are attacked it is literally a fight for our lives. It does not matter if the person is unarmed like Michael Brown. There is still a gun, baton, knife, Taser, OC spray or other equipment on the officer that the attacker can and will use against the officer if the attacker gains control of them. The officer is betting with his/her very life on whether the attacker choses to stop the attack at just a beating. Thousands of officers have lost that bet, and their lives. In these situations, I don’t think the officer gives a damn about the attacker’s race or religion. For Ranjana Natarajan to say that Officer Wilson was deliberately racially profiling Michael Brown during his encounter and deciding to kill him for his race is total sophistry.   

  Just like all communities have their bad elements, the police ranks do have theirs. Let me be clear, however, that there is a huge difference between bad officers and officers that make a mistake. Bad officers are officers that engage in deliberately unconstitutional behavior. They engage in criminal conduct. They are the officers that have utter disregard for department policy. They are the officers that destroy department reputations and cost their cities millions of dollars in lawsuits. These are the officers that sow the seeds for the perception of racial profiling, bias in police work, etc. By all means, community, be angry, demand the termination or prosecution of these officers. This officer will be right there with you. These types of officers, however, are few in number. Do not blanket condemn whole departments for these officers. Also community, understand that there are labor laws and union contracts that require a lengthy process to deal with these officers. It is for these problems that police departments across this country are having such a difficult time hiring qualified officers. If there is anything in their backgrounds that would indicate even a possibility that they may behave like this they don’t get hired.

  Throughout all the chants, complaints, demands, and cries for “change” in how police departments work, I am still waiting for someone to say what change they want. Members of the community always have a seat at the table with the police departments to discuss policing strategies. So quit shouting meaningless and inaccurate platitudes (Hands up, don’t shoot) and actually try to work with your departments. If you better understood police work and what we do and how we do it, you could help tailor it to better meet the needs of your neighborhood. We want to help, but you will never accomplish any good for your neighborhood by threatening to kill us and looting and burning your neighborhood. Think about this. White police officers are repeatedly accused of racial profiling, biased police work, deliberately violating minorities’ constitutional rights, etc. We are condemned as a race of officer. The accusers have stereotyped us. What hypocrites. What do you want? You are tired of the violence in your neighborhood and accuse the police of not helping. We then help and you attack us for every little thing we do. The result of this confusion is that the police substantially disengage. What you end up with is rampant violence like Chicago and Detroit. Detroit is now a collapsing third world city. Is that how you want to live? White officers, racial profiling, biased law enforcement are not your problems. Grow up, face reality, and look around. The drug dealers, the gang bangers, the robbers, the killers around you are your problem. The police are your best solution. Every community is far better and safer with police than without. Let us work together for the good of all. Otherwise…?

comments powered by Disqus